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7.4 John McElroy, S.J., 1813 - 1877


Scope and Contents

This subseries contains selected personal papers of John McElroy, S.J., primarily correspondence, diaries, journals, and notes. In his journals, among many other topics, he makes note of Black congregants (both free and enslaved), discusses his work related to Boston College, and records observations of his time as a chaplain in Mexico during the Mexican-American War. In his correspondence, there are letters from several prominent individuals, including Zachary Taylor, Dolley Madison, and Roger B. Taney.

John McElroy, S.J. was born in Ireland in 1782. At age 21, he migrated to the United States. In 1806, he both entered Georgetown College and joined the Society of Jesus as a lay brother; he eventually served as Georgetown’s Procurator. After a short period as assistant pastor at Holy Trinity Church, he was sent to Federick, where he remained from 1823 to 1845. He was instrumental in establishing St. John’s Church and St. John’s Literary Institution (both in Frederick). He then served as a Chaplain in Mexico during the Mexican-American War, after which he went to Boston, where he helped found Boston College. He died in 1877.

**Please note: the finding aid contains Scope and Contents notes for each folder. This folder-level description has been imported from an older finding aid. Researchers may encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies. If you would like to notify Special Collections of any issues that need correcting, please contact us.**

Materials on Slavery

Some materials in this subseries contain references to slavery, slaveholding, and enslaved individuals. Relevant folders are noted in the finding aid.

Provenance and Arrangement

Materials are arranged chronologically by type. All materials in this subseries are part of the original collection placed on deposit at Georgetown in the 1970s.

Related Materials


  • 1813 - 1877

Conditions Governing Access

The Maryland Province Archives is on deposit at Georgetown University and is the property of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus. As stewards of the Archives, the Georgetown University Library’s Booth Family Center for Special Collections is responsible for managing access to the material based on policies set forth by the USA East Province. Researchers may view these materials in the Reading Room of the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. General policies for using Special Collections can be found here.

Access to the Archives is governed by the USA East Province and is subject to all Library and Special Collections policies and procedures in addition to the specific guidelines below. These guidelines are a summary of access policies; the Archives may include materials that fall outside the scope of these general guidelines. For information on access to specific materials, please contact the Special Collections staff.


1. All Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring before January 1, 1940, shall be open for review unless otherwise restricted, subject to Library policies and procedures.

2. All unpublished Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring on or after January 1, 1940, shall be open for review upon request subject to a decision by the Provincial or someone designated by the Provincial.

3. Researchers may quote from the materials.

4. Researchers may take their own photographs of the material for scholarly and research purposes. Allowing photographs is not an authorization to publish or to deposit the material in another library or archive.

5. Written permission from the USA East Province is required for the publication of substantive portions of any material or publication-quality reproductions of any material.

6. Material not yet processed is not available to researchers; permission will not be granted to access any unprocessed material.

7. Audiovisual, microfilm and other material in the Archives, the original of which is held in another archive, may be consulted and transcribed only. Written permission from the archive holding the original material is required for any duplication, reproduction, or publication of that material.

8. Use the Permission Request Form to request permission (i) to access any restricted processed material or (ii) to publish reproductions or quote substantive portions of the material. Send the completed form by email to the Booth Family Center for Special Collections (


From the Collection: 308 boxes (212 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 58 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, plus 14 card catalog drawers )

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Multiple languages


Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057